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Just another New Year Resolution or positive action?

Do you need to ‘get off your butt’ this year?

OK, so what will you do differently in 2016?

Get Off Your Supply Chain Butt

Get Off Your Butt in 2016!

Or maybe your 2015 was everything you dreamed of, and 2016 will just me more of the same?   Lucky you!

But if you are like 99.9% of us, there will be some things you yearn to achieve in 2016, either from a personal, career or business perspective.

Well, I’m no life coach, so I might leave the ‘personal’ tips to the experts. One of mine though will be an old one…. Lose more weight!   I need to as I’m off walking again later this year. And I can tell you from bitter experience, walking hundreds of kilometres carrying excess weight is not fun…..

So leaving out the personal stuff, well not quite, I’ll add some thoughts at the bottom of this post, let’s focus mainly on your career and business. Career First. Then some tips on achieving Supply Chain Goals.


Your Career Goals

OK, so what do you want to achieve this year?

That promotion? Gaining some new skills? Maybe even changing jobs or careers?

If you have been stuck in a rut for a while, this is important. Why? Well guess what? You get one shot at this life. And I can tell you from personal experience, once you get over 35 the movie seems to speed up for some reason! There never seems to be time to do all those things you planned on doing.

So make a plan!


This is the process I often go through with members of my team, and myself…


On a flip chart or piece of paper, write down what your working world will look like in 5 years’ time. Not what you expect it might look like. What you want it to look like.

If you are an impatient individual like me, make it a 3-year goal.

When noting what your world will look like, cover all aspects.

  1. Where you will be working.
  2. What type of role.
  3. How much you’ll be earning.
  4. What car you’ll be driving.
  5. How you will ‘feel’ about this role.
  6. And by all means add in some personal elements. I do.
    • Where you’ll go on holiday.
    • What your key relationships will feel like.
    • Will you be fitter, happier?


I’m sure you get the idea by now.


You’re painting a picture of what your life will look like in 5 years’ time. Indeed, paste some relevant pictures on that flip chart or piece of paper, that represent those goals.

I have my version framed. One on my office wall, and one at home. So they are a constant daily reminder of why I am doing what I do.

Mine even has pictures of exotic beach holidays (tick), pilgrimage walks (tick) and a slimmer me (no tick yet…but I’m working on it)


The Detail

OK, now you need to get into the detail.

I split my 5-year plan into annual targets. What do I need to achieve in each of the years, to achieve those 5 year goals?

So if it’s a new house. How much will you need to save each year. Put a specific target.

If you want those next two promotions, what new skills do you need to learn? What new roles do you need to gain experience in? What type of people do you need to meet and connect with?

Of course you don’t need to wait 5 years, or even 3 years if you’re impatient.  Because some of these goals will be achievable in Year 1 or Year 2.

Hopefully by now you’re getting the idea.  Specific targets and ‘visualisation’ are really important.

  • Set some clear goals.
  • ‘Paint a picture’ of those goals, what they will look and feel like.
  • Break down those goals into yearly targets
  • And review and update your ‘personal’ plan every year!


This Next Bit is Crucial

Annual goals for most people are meaningless.

12 months is just too long a timeframe. We procrastinate and never get started. So we need to create a sense of urgency and self-discipline.

That’s where the 90-day plan comes in.

Take your first years’ goals and break them down into 4 x 90 day plans. What are the key components or enablers for you to reach your plan for the first year? What comes first? What next?

So you now create a series of 90 day plans, with much more manageable and achievable sub goals.

I’ll digress with a personal illustration and key lesson that I learned this year.   The short version. You can watch the movie for the longer version! Seriously you can…  Right here:  Rob’s Camino  The key lessons are in the final section … Reflections.


The Short Story….

In late April 2015 I set myself the task of walking 800 km alone along an ancient Pilgrimage Trail in Northern Spain. It was made a little more complicated, as I injured my feet in training just weeks before departure. So in fact day 1 of the walk, was the first time I had worn my walking gear or backpack in 6 weeks.

But I made it, even though it took me 40 days.

YourSupplyChainCareerAnd the biggest lesson I gained from that, was that huge things can be achieved. Seemingly impossible things (at the time), by just breaking the task down into little bits.

Each day was a separate task.

In fact, each day broke into separate sub tasks. An hour to the next coffee break. 2 hours to a chocolate break. 30 minutes more and I’ll get my boots off for a break.   My daily goal was never, ever, to complete an 800 km walk.  OK, maybe the final day was!

That’s what you need to do with your personal plan to make it more manageable and achievable. And breaking your overall plan into 90 day chunks (or less) will go a long way to helping you do this.

So what will you do tomorrow, or by the end of the week, to get you moving towards your career goals?

Maybe start with the plan!

I hope so…


Your Supply Chain Goals for this Year and Beyond

Of course you can use the annual plans and 90 day plans I mentioned above, for your business and Supply Chain Goals too. Exactly the same approach.

In fact, I’ll start my catch up calls with our Supply Chain Academy membersnext week, to see what progress they’re making on their 90 days plans we set in November.

The School members are all Supply Chain Managers in major organisations and have set themselves some great goals. I’m keen to see how they’re going.

So maybe get to work on your own Supply Chain goals using this process too.

If you need some help or some handy templates, comment below and I’ll put some together for you.

So rather than repeat the process outlined above, I’m sure you get the idea by now; let me give you my top three tips or tools for improving your Supply Chain in 2016.

And I’ll add some links to further reading and some videos that will help you.


One – Understand Your Supply Chain Strategy.

Make sure you understand the three main objectives of your organisation for the year. And if not already ‘translated’ into a Supply Chain Strategy or Goals for the year, do that yourself.

Without clear direction and specific goals, you’re just like a ship without a rudder, drifting around in the Ocean.

Of course you then need to make sure that these Supply Chain goals are clearly articulated to your team members, in language that they understand.

What does that goal actually mean to a warehouse picker, or a delivery driver?

You can download a free Supply Chain Strategy Guide right here.


Two – Understand Your Supply Chain Performance.

Do you understand how your Supply Chain performs in relation to similar organisations? If you don’t, how on earth do you know if your performance is good or bad? You don’t do you?

It’s really important to Benchmark your Supply Chain performance against others. If you can’t do this externally, at least do it internally with other divisions or departments.

This not only allows you to understand where your own performance gaps are, but encourages the sharing of best practice to lift everyone’s performance.

Again you can download a Benchmarking Guide here.


Three – Know your Cost to Serve.

This is a biggie.

By undertaking a simple cost to serve analysis on your Supply Chain you’ll find immediate opportunities to reduce costs and improve service. I guarantee it! I’ve been conducting cost to serve audits for over 20 years for our consulting clients and it’s one of the fastest and most effective ways I know of finding and gaining performance improvement in places you would never have dreamt of looking!

Quite simply understanding your ‘cost to serve’ merely means that you know right down to an individual product and customer level, the cost and hence the profitability of them all.

And as a rule of thumb, you’ll find that 30% of your customers and / or products don’t make a profit! Do you know which ones they are?

And for non-commercial organisations, it’s just as important. Because 30% of your customers and / or products are costing you far too much to service and leading to budget blow outs.

Again, here is a free cost to serve guide you can download.


Do you need more information?

Do comment below if you would like any more detailed information on these topics and I’ll endeavour to provide it for you.

Although if you visit my Blog and search under the various categories you’ll probably find all you need!

Oh, and if these topics are of interest to you, you might want to check out two free webinars that we have coming up shortly.

Firstly, on Boosting Team Performance through improved ‘Fast Track’ Supply Chain Education, and

Secondly, some tips on reducing Supply Chain Costs.

Lastly, thanks for reading this, I hope you found it of some value.

And may your 2016 turn out to be everything you hope and wish for.


Contact Rob O'Byrne
Best Regards,
Rob O’Byrne
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +61 417 417 307
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